I remember the conversation vividly. A couple drinks, early fall but not too chilly to be uncomfortable. The sun was down at a local hip spot. Think: hipsters and colored mood lights in full force.
She was curious but guarded, not at a place to entirely buy-in to what I was saying. And, really, why would she? I’d just returned from the most pivotal adventure I’d had to that point in my life and my emotional fire was running at an all time high.
It’s lovely, but temporary, she was surely thinking.
We sat, we talked, we traded devil’s advocacies. The big picture stuff, but also the details and the finesse that always resides between the lines. Things were shifting for me and yet they were not for her. In fact, they hadn’t been for quite some time.
She was all too familiar with dead ends, failed relationships, and a sense of apprehension (fear) caused by an ever-present jadedness. She was so full of life in intelligence; in internal grit and independence; in life’s experiences.
But her guard was up in a way that I could not penetrate. She was happy for my life’s adventures but would have none of it for herself.
I remember walking away at once fulfilled from challenging conversation and laughter, but also a sense of sadness. I wanted her to feel what I felt. She deserved it. But I knew I couldn’t “fix” that in her nor did I attempt to alter her outlook aside from a few nonchalant suggestions.
Months have passed now. Various experiences have been had by us both; those that either reside in normalcy, and a few that straddle that all too fleeting feeling of living on our edge.
We’ve seen one another a time or two since the initial connection, but the topic of relationship and partner hadn’t come up since. Until very recently.
It’s now mid-winter and too cold for either of our likings, but static was in the air. I’m aimlessly tending to a new beard this season—something I never thought I’d pursue, and thus, a unique starter conversation. We laughed. But there was more in the air than jokes and familiar smiles when the chatter quieted.
She’d met someone.
From that moment on the floor was hers. To smile, to gush, to gloat, to feel, to love, to be. It was beautiful. The energy that she expelled brought me back to that night, months before, where she must have, on some level, been feeling that same energy from me.
Distance is involved, but he was flying in—for her—in one short week. They talk every day. It’s something neither of them expected.
They simply stumbled across one another’s path, charged with what they’ve known to that point and educated with what they want in a partner from here on out. What would become of this? Is it even real? It feels real.
I was struck in that moment not in that he deserved her or she deserved him. Or even that we should draw needless conclusions about the how’s or why’s this surfaced for either of them.
But ultimately what came to me was that everyone deserves to feel this way.
We all deserve—we have the right—to be loved and treated in a way that is fulfilling. We deserve to be treated with respect and through a lens that, if even for brief moments in time, is as clear as it has ever been so that we may never forget what is our apex of love.
For her, the love she was feeling made me well up inside. I have no inclination where this will lead for her, nor does she, but the fact that this pivot occurred is nothing less than fascinating.
That the right person, at the right time, under the right circumstances, caught her eye. She paid attention. Walls fell. Love flowed. It is incredible.
To her and her long distance lover: I wish you the best, whatever that may be for you both. I hope you remember this moment and never forget that this is how you deserve to feel.
This is how you deserve to be treated, always.